"Tao te Ching" making perfect sense, but...?
I've really gotten into zen lately, and I bought a book called 'Tao te Ching', and I'm a little confused.
The confusing part is this. You see, when I read out of this thing, it's like, it makes more sense than I've ever understood. I feel like I was born with this already in my mind. The part about ignoring things and letting things be, the part about finding inner peace, it makes SO much sense, and I carry this thing everywhere and love it, I feel like I've always been a zennist, and I want to believe in it all, but there are some lines I find my self in conflict with.
I am a firm and devout Christian, and when I read the lines about "The Tao is older than God" and things like that, I get a little conflict, I feel bad inside. Does that make sense? Anybody have any advice on how I can clear up my confusion of what's going on?
I know that it was written before Jesus came, but my christian side is telling me that this is evil, but I don't believe that. Everything in there makes perfect sense (besides the tao older than god stuff), like the teachings, the good vs evil, how it looks beyond sin into a pool of selfishness... I feel like either
1. The devil is telling me I have to choose between jesus and taoism, or
2. I am converting
3. I am actually learning to use my mind, to strenthen it, and the devil is afraid of that happening, so he's trying to prevent it. Advice anyone?
First off, there's a difference between Zen and the Tao. Zen is a branch of Buddhism whereas Taoism is its own religion/philosophy.
I hesitate to call Taoism a religion, as there's nothing to worship in it as much as there is something to try to understand.
I don't see why they have to conflict. Remember we're talking about ideas that formed completely separate from each other and were not influenced by each other at all. I'm not a Christian, but I can kinda equate the Tao with Logos (The Word), just as seen from two different perspectives.
Eastern and Western philosophy are very different from each other, so it'd be absurd to think that all of eastern belief has been evil and satanic up until the past couple hundred years, no?
Anyhoo, hope this sheds a little light. Best of luck.
There is no conflict. There is a Taoist religion, and there is a Taoist philosophy. You can learn from the philosophy without practicing the religion.
As for what the Tao is, well, it says in the Tao Te Ching that if you can define it, it isn't the Tao.
The Tao being before God... I think what's meant is that it was before there were names for anything, before names for God, before any human concept of God existed.
Also, remember that the Tao Te Ching is often rather mystical, and written in an earlier Chinese than is currently in use, so translations are tricky. Try comparing two or three different translations of the Tao Te Ching and you'll see what I mean. A very good version is the one by Jonathan Star.
Regarding "the devil" telling you one thing or another: a sincere effort to understand something that you so strongly relate to is something from the heart. Trust your heart. It's better to use your mind to understand than to run and hide your head when you find something that puzzles you.
Best of luck with this. I hope you are able to resolve this to your satisfaction.
It is wiser to treat Taoism as your new passion of study on an Eastern philosophy, while retaining your practice of Christianity. I think that both offer enormous insights and inspiration about Nature, morals, virtues, psychology,philosophy and proper conduct of human affairs, even effective techniques to solve some of life's problems and mysteries.
Tao te ching can be a most absorbing life-long study into metaphysics, mind, reality, yin and yang, causes and effects, human relationships, Zen, Taoist or Chan meditations, divinations and even healings in the traditional way. A deep study can reveal solutions to some of the mysteries of life and the Universe. It can also help one to raise his practice of Chinese martial art to a high level. Self-healing and healing others by using the Chi(etheric energy of one's body) is possible. So the study and practice of Taoism can potentially bring great benefits to the well-being, self-preservation and special knowledge for an individual.
Don't be too sensitive about the use of words or terms used in any language, or study because they are just approximations of an idea, a truth. Very often different words are used to mean the same thing, such as God, Allah, Tao, Supreme Being, Ultimate Energy, Almighty, etc.Why debate and fight eternally when no one can really be enlightened enough to win? In addition, the Tao is 'universal', neither Eastern or Western. It also does not teach us to fear or oppose Satan, Hell or other scary entities or places. Only humility to embrace the Truth, ensures enlightenment.
I wish you great adventures and surprises in your passionate pursuit of knowing the Tao and unravelling some mysteries of mind, matter and others! Cheers!